The dust has settled at another international women’s fastpitch tournament at Softball City. And now, the North Delta Softball Association (NDSA) is helping its counterpart in Peru create a tournament of similar calibre.
Next week, members of the North Delta Sunfire, a senior women’s fastpitch team, will travel to Lima, Peru to participate in that country’s first crack at hosting an international competition.
It’s all been made possible thanks to some key local players, including Roberto Perez-Leon, a Peruvian-born umpire who’s part of the North Delta association. He once coached the woman who is now president of the girl’s softball organization in Peru.
NDSA president Cliff Lane has also come on board, collecting 1,000 pounds of used equipment and uniforms – enough to outfit approximately 15 girls softball teams – and shipping it to Lima at a cost of $1 a pound.
“Obviously there is a lot of poverty (in Peru),” said Lane. “The extra uniforms will be given to soccer clubs.”
The tournament runs Aug. 9-14 at a modern facility in one of the nicer districts of Lima. Some of the Sunfire players, who range in age from 23 to 31, have been part of the local squad for 20-plus years.
Lane’s two daughters – Melissa and Ashleigh – were fixtures for many years, and their mom Kathy Lane started the team. Cliff attests that there are underlying life lessons that the players have taken from the sport.
“They have learned how to deal with adversity,” he says.
The Delta team is the only international entry outside of Latin America in the Lima tournament.
“The goal is to make it a stepping stone to put together a tournament in Peru that is complimentary to the international fastpitch tournament in Surrey,” explains Lane, noting the Lima economy could also benefit from business revenue generated by the event.